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Have you found small brown worms in your apartment? These are the larvae of various species. You can find out how to get rid of them in this guide.

In a nutshell

  • Larvae are collected and released
  • Discard food sources
  • Seal purchases in an odour-proof manner
  • close accesses
  • thoroughly clean affected areas

collect larvae

One of the best ways to gently get rid of small brown worms of any kind in your home is to collect them. You don't have to kill them. Just put on gloves and collect the larvae. You can also use a dustpan for this. After that, the worms are simply taken to a meadow or to the forest. They provide a source of food for all kinds of animals such as birds or mice, and some of them help to decompose carrion or vegetable waste. You should also collect and release the adult animals. In the following sections you will learn suitable measures to combat the worms most commonly found in the home.

Combat bacon beetle larvae

Small brown worms of the bacon beetle (Dermestidae) are among the most dangerous pests inside buildings and apartments. They are easily recognized by the following characteristics:

  • colored light brown
  • 5 to 15 mm long
  • fuller middle
  • completely covered with arrow hair
  • fast
Larva of the bacon beetle

The larvae of the bacon beetle should not be underestimated due to their feeding behavior. Their food sources include the following, making them common in kitchens, bathrooms, and living rooms:

  • hair
  • dander
  • carrion
  • animal feed
  • dried fish
  • meat
  • cheese
  • dead insects

Be sure to dispose of infested food. Newly acquired ones are packed thoroughly to prevent the beetles from settling there. You should also carefully remove and release the larvae. After that, you should consider the following points to remove the eggs, pupae and droppings of the insects and prevent reintroduction:

  • Living quarters vacuum
  • Don't forget corners and crevices
  • Also vacuum out cupboards
  • wipe floors
  • Thoroughly wipe out cupboards (e.g. with vinegar cleaner)
  • wash infested textiles (min. 60°C)
  • Close access points (e.g. joints, baseboards, fine cracks in the wall)

Tip: Use predators such as parasitic wasps (Trichogramma evanescens) or camp pirates (Xylocoris flavipes) to combat them.

Classic: mealworms

mealworms. As small brown worms, they are a common sight in apartments. As the name suggests, the larvae of the flour beetle (Tenebrio molitor) live in flour and other dry foods. The typical causes of a colonization of mealworms are the following:

  • open groceries
  • are brought in
  • enter living quarters via bird nests

Mealworms are not a sign of a dirty home. The most common reason is accidental introduction through food. The continuously white to light brown maggots, whose individual segments are clearly visible, have a body length of 20 to 30 millimeters. An infestation is not only recognizable by the maggots themselves:

  • clumped foods
  • musty smell
  • Food pulls threads

Infested food sources are discarded immediately and the maggots with them. Seal the garbage bag as tightly as possible. Then clean all affected areas, your kitchen and pantry. The following home remedies are particularly good for this:

  • vinegar water
  • Tea Tree Oil (diluted)
  • Eucalyptus Tree Oil (diluted)

Repeat the procedure regularly over the next few weeks. Your supplies will be hermetically sealed to prevent infestation.

Eliminate clothes moth larvae

The larvae of the clothes moth (Tineola bisselliella) are also small brown worms with a maximum length of 10 millimeters. They feed on food sources containing keratin:

Source: Guido Gerding, XN Tineola bisselliella 1, edited by Plantopedia, CC BY-SA 3.0
  • textiles
  • skins
  • feathers
  • Wool
  • hair

For this reason, they are often found in closets, bathrooms and other places in your living space. One of the typical causes of infestation by the seven to ten millimeter long moth larvae is unwashed and worn laundry that is left in rooms with the following characteristics:

  • Temperature: 20 to 24°C
  • Humidity: min. 75%

They are particularly attracted to the smell of sweat. This can be recognized by the following symptoms:

  • small holes in textiles
  • Smooth-edged holes
  • number is steadily increasing

The larvae themselves are not so easy to find because they hide well. You should not leave unwashed textiles for too long to prevent infestation. Dry and cool rooms are also recommended for storing worn clothing. Clean up the infested storage locations, then place scented sachets or essential oils nearby that smell like lavender, neem, or pine. Wash infested textiles at min. 60°C or freeze them as described above.

Butterfly mosquitoes: eliminate larvae

Small brown worms in your own rooms in your home can also come from butterfly flies (Psychodidae). If the drains in the kitchen and the bathroom or the toilet are suddenly inhabited by dark maggots four millimeters long, it is butterfly gnats. In this case, you need to do something about them immediately, since they can transmit diseases:

Source: Erin Hayes-Pontius, Psychodidae Whole, edited from Plantopedia, CC BY-SA 3.0
  • collect or vacuum
  • suck in adult animals
  • Hang sticky traps

You should also clean the drains as well as possible to prevent an infestation. The cleaner the drains are, the fewer problems you will have with them.

Notice: Arum lilies also attract mosquitoes because of their smell.

Combat brass beetle larvae

In addition to bacon beetles, you can find the larvae of the brass beetle (Niptus hololeucus) in your home as small brown worms. They are clad in shades of white to tan and are most commonly found in older buildings such as half-timbered houses. They get their food mainly from the following sources:

  • textiles
  • leather
  • skins
  • paper
  • cardboard
  • insulating materials

Human food, on the other hand, is rarely eaten. For this reason, an infestation is often not noticed until late. In this case, you need to hire a professional, since the animals will find even the smallest hiding places. Home remedies are also not effective against the animals. To prevent an infestation, use the same measures as with the bacon beetle. This will prevent an infestation. The larvae look similar to those of the bacon beetle, only have a thicker rear part.

frequently asked Questions

How can the adult specimens be expelled?

To prevent insect infestation, you should block off all possible access points as much as possible, for example with fly screens. The adult insects are attracted by various sources of smell, especially over the summer. Good hygiene, clean living quarters and sealed food keep the animals away.

When must an exterminator be contacted?

If the infestation is extensive, a specialist pest control company should be contacted. In this way, the infestation can be effectively combated and the worms can no longer be found in your living space. This is particularly important in the case of building pests, as these can cause major damage to the building structure.

Are the larvae poisonous?

The insect larvae presented are not poisonous per se, but can contaminate food due to their excretions. Furthermore, allergy sufferers should not have any contact with the bacon beetle larvae. The insects are not toxic per se, but their arrow hairs are a common allergy trigger.

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